With the pandemic disrupting almost every aspect of life, our popular MMI morning for aspiring medics was not able to go ahead in person this year.

MMI stands for ‘multiple mini interviews’. It is an interview format which is increasingly popular with medical schools, and is, in many ways, rather like speed-dating, with candidates facing a series of five- to seven-minute interviews back-to-back. 

In recent years, Downside has hosted medical applicants from a large number of schools in the South West at our mock MMI morning, both from the maintained and independent sectors, and we have enjoyed the generosity and expertise of health care professionals who have given up their time to help students practise these (rather nerve-wracking) interviews.  

Although we were unable to host our usual MMI event this academic year, we did still give our home-grown applicants, both current pupils and recent leavers, the opportunity to take part in a virtual MMI event, and we are tremendously grateful to the doctors who gave up their time to make this possible. Doing these interviews online was a new experience to us all, and interviewers and interviewees alike benefitted from it, allowing us to develop our virtual communication skills.   

We would like to extend our huge thanks to Professor Mary Jane Platt (Ra76), Professor Nicholas Brook, Dr Piers Jennings, Dr Vanessa Wilkins and Dr Joanna Hobbs for helping prepare our students for these interviews, and I know that the pupils themselves are also very grateful. We also have one applicant this year for Veterinary Medicine, who, at the time of writing, has already received offers from two of his veterinary medical schools, and we would like to thank Mr John Gould, a senior partner in a local veterinary practice, for giving up his time to do interview practice for our aspiring vet. 

We are always humbled by the willingness with which busy professionals give up their time to help our pupils, and never more so than in these extraordinary times.